Opelika will host veteran entrepreneur workshop this Tuesday [Opelika-Auburn News, Ala.]
(Opelika-Auburn News (AL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 17--Veterans are 45 percent more likely than non-veterans to become an entrepreneur according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
An event scheduled for Tuesday in Opelika will help many area veterans learn how to become an entrepreneur and manage their own businesses successfully.
The SBA, the Veterans Business Outreach Center and the National Leadership Congress are hosting the Entrepreneur Small Business Workshop for Veterans. The event's aim is to provide veterans, spouses, National Guard and reserve members along with survivors information about starting and financing their own veteran-owned small business.
The event will be held Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Event Center Downtown, located at 614 N. Railroad Ave. in Opelika. There is no cost to attend and nothing will be sold, according to event organizers. Lunch will be provided.
The event will include several local and national presenters. The goal is to help veterans who want to start or develop their own business -- no matter the size.
" Not every veteran wants to build a Google or a large company," said Ted Lasser, who will speak at Tuesday's event. "They want a lifestyle business" such as becoming a gunsmith or mechanic.
Lasser, a Vietnam veteran, has helped more than 400 veterans start businesses. Last year, he was honored by President Barack Obama as one of 12 "Champions of Change." He currently serves as Executive Director of Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer, Inc. (VETransfer.)
Veterans of all ages are interested in becoming business owners, according to Lasser.
" It's not only young veterans coming back from war or theater. It's also Vietnam vets. I've even had an 82-year-old entrepreneur...It's absolutely amazing."
Lasser said veterans often gain discipline and resiliency that help them manage their businesses.
" The desire to be the best you can be -- that part of military life can be transferred into owning your business," he said. "Military folks have the guts" to overcome business challenges.
The Milwaukee resident also praised Alabama and its efforts in being a veteran-friendly state. He cited events such as Tuesday's workshop in Opelika.
" I'm amazed at how Alabama is focused on helping veterans," he said. "I don't see that everywhere."
Joe Boeddeker, president and CEO of the Venture Growth Alliance in California's Silicon Valley, will also speak Tuesday. Boeddeker is a member of the U.S. Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and has helped dozens of veterans start their own businesses.
"If I was looking for the right background for a entrepreneur, I'd look for military and sports. Those are two places where you have to work as a team," he said.
Boeddeker said veterans have often been given significant responsibilities as an early age, along with opportunities to lead and depend on fellow soldiers. He said his military experience helped him upon entering the corporate world.
"I didn't know anything about business. But my military experience really gave me an advantage."
Boedderker added that there are opportunities for entrepreneurs even in a down economy.
"There may not be a lot of jobs, but there's a lot of work."
Other guest speakers include Robert Rehder, director of the Veteran Business Outreach Center for the SBA; Brent McMahan, senior area manager for the SBA; Toby Warren of the National Leadership Conference; and J. Matthew Wilson of the Alabama Small Business Development Center Network in Birmingham. There will be time for participants to ask questions.
Registration is required for the event. For more information, contact Sarah Espinosa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-672-2683.
(c)2013 the Opelika-Auburn News (Opelika, Ala.)
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